CIO Insight: Case Study: Hess Taps Linux for Profits

“Such maps would not have existed even five years ago: By
necessity, oil exploration has been a high-stakes guessing game of
the highest order. Supercomputers, a relatively recent phenomenon,
have helped fine-tune the analysis, but at a hefty price, which has
limited their use by some companies and made it cost-prohibitive to
conduct sustained, ongoing number-crunching and digital depth

“But times are changing. Thanks to the emergence of low-cost
computing power in the form of Linux computing clusters, Hess and
other oil companies now can run algorithms they never could have
dreamed of running before. At far more affordable prices, Hess can
now extract terabytes more information about what lies beneath the
earth’s surface than it could with a supercomputer. Indeed, Linux
cluster technology has ‘dropped our cost of computing by an order
of magnitude of two,’ says Hess CIO Richard Ross. ‘One of our guys
wrote a program that allows him to interactively work with multiple
terabytes of data. All the books stored in the Library of Congress
would equal 20 terabytes. Just think about working with that much
information in real time…'”


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